The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







If you were looking for the C, C++, or C# programming languages then see C programming language, C Plus Plus, or C Sharp programming language
C c
Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

C is the third letter of the Roman alphabet.

In the Etruscan language, plosive consonants had no distinctive voicing, so they took over Greek Γ (Gamma) to write their /k/. In the beginning, the Romans used C for both /k/ and /g/, only later adding a horizontal bar at right-center to produce G. It is possible but uncertain that C represented only /g/ at an even earlier time, while K might have been used for /k/.

Some scholars claim that the Semitic ג (gmel) pictured a camel.


Phonetic use

/k/ developed palatal and velar allophones in Latin, probably due to Etruscan influence. The Romance languages and English have a common feature inherited from Vulgar Latin where C takes on either a "hard" or "soft" value depending on the following vowel. In English, C takes the "hard" value /k/ finally and before A, O, and U, and the "soft" value /s/ before E, I, or Y. Romance languages obey similar rules, but the soft value is different in several languages, taking on /θ/ in European Castilian and /ʧ/ (like English CH) in Italian and Romanian.

Other languages use C with different values, such as /k/ regardless of position in Welsh /θ/ in Fijian, /ʤ/ in Turkish, Tatar, Azeri, /ʦ/ in Czech, Croatian, Esperanto, Romanized Chinese and so on.

There are several common digraphs with C, the most common being CH, which in some languages such as German is far more common than C alone. In English, CH most commonly takes the value /ʧ/, but can take the value /k/ or /x/, usually when transliterating Greek Χ or Hebrew. CH takes various values in other languages, such as //, /k/, or /x/ in German, /ʃ/ in French, /k/ in Italian, /ʈʂʰ/ in Mandarin Chinese, and so forth. CK, with the value /k/, is often used after short vowels in Germanic languages like English, German and Swedish. The digraph CZ is found in Polish and CS in Hungarian, both representing /ʧ/.

As a phonetic symbol, lowercase [c] is the International Phonetic Alphabet and X-SAMPA symbol for the voiceless palatal plosive, and capital [C] is the X-SAMPA symbol for the voiceless palatal fricative.

Alternate representations

Charlie represents the letter C in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

In international Morse code the letter C is DahDitDahDit: -  - 

In Braille the letter C is represented as (in Unicode), the dot pattern,



In Unicode the capital C is codepoint U+0043 and the lowercase c is U+0063.

The ASCII code for capital C is 67 and for lowercase c is 99; or in binary 01000011 and 01100011, respectively.

The EBCDIC code for capital C is 195 and for lowercase c is 131.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "C" and "c" for upper and lower case respectively.

Meanings for C

See also

, Ĉ,

Two-letter combinations starting with C:

Letter-digit combinations starting with C:

Last updated: 02-16-2005 08:28:17
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01